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Shooting Touch Rwanda & Basketball Africa League Activation Brings Hoops and Health to Young Women in Bugesera (Pictorial)

On Friday, May 31, the international sport-for-development nonprofit Shooting Touch collaborated with the Basketball Africa League (BAL) for the second consecutive year, hosting a basketball event promoting public health and gender equality in rural Rwanda.

The event served 150 girls and young women from Shooting Touch Rwanda’s (STR) daily sport-for-health programming, and included a basketball clinic run by the BAL’s U-23 BAL4HER women’s team, as well as community health education and a workshop for STR beneficiaries focused on sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), delivered in partnership with local gender experts.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to finish off our first-ever BAL4HER camp than being here with [Shooting Touch], gathering all of these amazing women to talk about sexual and reproductive health and rights,” says Marie-Laurence Archambault, Social Responsibility & Player Programs Lead at the BAL.

“The Basketball Africa League is more than just an international leader in the basketball space – we’re really all about social impact and using our platform to talk about different issues that exist on a continent, and we’re really, really lucky to have Shooting Touch as a partner in creating that impact,” she adds.

The BAL4HER U-23 athletes, who are taking part in the BAL’s inaugural Pan-African women’s camp aimed at uplifting talented young female athletes on-and-off the court, led a dynamic basketball clinic and engaged with Shooting Touch beneficiaries during an on-court SRHR educational workshop.

By bringing together STR beneficiaries with top female basketball players from across the continent, STR and the BAL are creating meaningful opportunities for young women to learn, build community, and participate in physical activity.

“Meeting these young women is something special,” said Jane Dusabe, a BAL4HER camper who also stars for the The Hoops WBBC in the Rwanda Women’s Basketball League. “We get the chance to share our knowledge about women’s lives and inspire other young, talented girls to keep pushing themselves in their development.”

During the health education workshop, local gender experts provided STR beneficiaries and U-23 BAL4HER campers with essential knowledge and resources on SRHR and family planning. Topics discussed during the interactive session included issues related to accessing youth-friendly SRHR services, contraceptives, and menstrual hygiene, as well as promoting intergenerational dialogue on sex and SRHR amongst women of all ages.

“This is a good and important initiative,” said Lorence Mfashije, an STR beneficiary and mother of four from Mayange Sector. “Playing basketball and discussing sexual and gender equality education at the same time is beneficial not only for young girls but also for older women and parents in general, as some of us don’t understand these issues. We thank the organizers and ask them to prepare more events to reach more young girls and women all over the country.”

At the conclusion of the event, Shooting Touch leadership announced that all STR beneficiaries in attendance would receive free, reusable menstrual hygiene pads, along with education on how to use those products as a sustainable and cost-effective way to manage menstrual hygiene.

Additionally, the BAL announced that they have committed to funding a latrine on-site at the court to promote healthy hygiene practices for athletes and the community at large.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with the Basketball Africa League for another impactful event,” says Christelle Umuhoza, In-Country Program Director for Shooting Touch Rwanda.

“Today’s activities alongside the BAL4HER campers not only enhanced the basketball skills of our Shooting Touch athletes, but also provided them with critical education about their health and their rights as women, reinforcing our commitment to bridging opportunity gaps through sport,” she adds.

As a social impact partner of the Basketball Africa League’s since 2023, Shooting Touch is committed to working alongside the BAL and other major international partners to utilize basketball as a catalyst for positive change in rural communities across Rwanda.

With plans to extend its reach into new communities within Rwanda and beyond, STR was thrilled to gather corporate, nonprofit, and government stakeholders, alongside community beneficiaries, to demonstrate the efficacy of the organization’s model, which uses sport as a platform to build community trust and transform lives.

Panorama

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